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North Korea Marks 10th Anniversary of Kim's Death - 2004-07-08

The North Korean capital has held scores of rallies, parades, speeches, and memorials to mark the 10-year anniversary of North Korean leader Kim Il Sung's death. North Korea is observing a weeklong period of remembrances for the man who founded the Stalinist state in 1948.

The North Korean dictator was famous for promoting his own cult of personality and the frenzied memorials surrounding the 10-year anniversary of his death indicate just how powerful it remains.

The state run media says the streets of Pyongyang were full of mourners and students clogged auditoriums waving banners reading "President Kim Il Sung will always be with us."

Movies and books celebrating his life have been reissued and scores of rallies held throughout the country to maintain Kim Il Sung's near divine status.

Nicholas Bonner, a filmmaker and frequent visitor to North Korea, says a key to the current cult of personality remains a complete embargo on news from outside the country. "Without question their belief is there," he says. "They have got no other reason to believe why not."

This week's events have been carefully orchestrated to revive enthusiasm for Kim Il Sung's legacy while strengthening his son's hold on power. Current leader Kim Jong Il, who inherited the reigns of power in the world's only communist dynasty, led an hour-long televised memorial service.

Military leaders praised Kim Il Sung but also rallied around their current leader and promised to crush his enemies.

Under Kim Jong Il, North Korea has experienced severe economic decline and famine, but the 62-year old leader remains popular.